Washington – The International Monetary Fund is sending a team to Tunisia next week to begin formal talks on a new financial aid package, an IMF official said on Friday.
The North African nation has been in preliminary discussions with the global lender for a new loan to save an economy ravaged by years of high unemployment, inflation, and public debt even pre-dating its 2011 revolution.
“An IMF mission will be in Tunis from July 4 to initiate negotiations on an IMF-supported program,” an IMF spokesperson told AFP. “The IMF remains a strong partner of Tunisia.”
The heavily indebted country, reeling from price hikes on imports such as oil and wheat since Russia invaded Ukraine, is seeking a two-billion-euro loan, according to a source with knowledge of the preliminary talks.
The Washington-based crisis lender said last week it was ready to begin the formal negotiations, but said the severity of the crisis will require the government to implement “ambitious reforms” to deal with fiscal imbalances.
While the fund welcomed the program proposed by President Kais Saied, the powerful UGTT trade union rejected the plan that includes a freeze on the public sector wage bill, some subsidy cuts and a restructuring of state firms.
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